I took a job recently for another weekly paper. I have written for as long as I can remember and have worked in and out of journalism since 1991. I took journalism classes and won numerous VPA awards. I can take criticism in my writing. I have been knocked down many times. But recently I was told I was not a professional writer. This was told to me because I have thus far held on to my integrity. I was aware of the reputation of this paper. I thought I could change how these individuals looked at news.
The publisher never worked in news before starting the paper. The editor came from another paper, but I am not so confident how far he made it, before going to work for the paper where I recently took the job. The editor goes along with what the publisher wants, defends his choices and makes his own questionable moves. The writer they say is a professional, they lament losing, and hold up to me to emulate was a retired middle school teacher. The only reason they choose to call him a professional writer over me is because he did what they said. I have heard many people say he misquoted and just made things up. It was so bad some individuals had to record their own interviews. One of these stopped being contacted by this paper all together, because they would have to deal with him honestly.
They both want me to report the negative, stir trouble for politicians the publisher is against and make something out of nothing to sell papers. I refuse to partake in sensationalism. I feel the American people need to be aware there are journalists out there that would sell their souls in order to get a byline. They will do what it takes to keep it.
During my time remaining, I will not bow to their ways. I will continue to give them what I give them, told honestly and objectively. They can fire me, because I will remain true to myself and my profession. I wish more of today’s journalists felt as strongly and the American people should demand it of reporters, or no reporters will be seen as trustworthy. Despite my constant struggle to keep my integrity, under this new editor and publisher, I am seen as untrustworthy. It should not be, but it is what it is.